Sparrow Junicho

on the tip of the
newly sprouted bamboo…
a baby sparrow
­                                                                         its hungry beak gaping wide
­                                                                         the black hole of parenthood
living in harmony–
the sparrow has
both parents!
­                                                                         feeding it seeds and insects
­                                                                         keeping the area clean
while I watch
he’s off to make a living alone…
baby sparrow
­­                                                                         wings strengthen in wind and rain
­                                                                         toughing out the winter chill
spring peace–
after rain, a gang war
garden sparrows
­                                                                         strident songs in the hedgerows
­                                                                         nature’s morning assembly
are the sparrows too
having a private party?
Plum blossoms
­                                                                         supping on sweet, scented dew
­                                                                         feasting on seeds and insects
don’t let the plum blossom guard
cut your tongues…
Sparrows! *
­                                                                         return to the young bamboo
and the joys of parenthood

Kobayashi Issa (Tr. David G. Lanoue)           Kim M. Russell, 11th October 2019

Image result for japanese paintings and artwork sparrows singing among bamboo
Sparrows and Bamboo in Snow’ (20th century). Woodblock print by Yoshimoto Gessô (1881–1936 – image found on Pinterest

My response to Carpe Diem #1761 Sparrows

This month Carpe Diem is celebrating its seventh anniversary with Japanese poetry about small creatures. Today it’s the sparrow, about which a lot of haiku have been written, especially by Kobayashi Issa.

Our challenge is to create a Junicho: a renga of 12 stanzas, from six given haiku written by Issa, by adding two-lined stanzas (approx. 7-7 syllables).

This will be my last post while I spend time with my daughter and grandson, who will arrive tomorrow and stay for a week. I’ll be writing and posting again the week after.

* Issa alludes to an old Japanese fairy tale in which a mean old woman cut a sparrow’s tongue with scissors because the sparrow pecked at her starch. Here, Issa warns the chirping sparrows that their tongues might be in similar jeopardy, hinting that the guard is a mean old grouch.

8 thoughts on “Sparrow Junicho

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